The loss of biodiversity in tropical rain forests has commanded much attention and justifiably so. However, the loss of biodiversity in temperate regions is just as serious because every geographical area is home to unique species and ecological diversity. Microscopic fungi are understudied and their identities and distribution records are not well-documented. Assessing the loss of biodiversity in any ecosystem must first require an inventory of the diversity, abundance and scarcity of organisms.
The versatile microscopic fungi can be plant, animal, and human pathogens as well as very effective decomposers of all types of substrates, e.g., toxic organic compounds, leaves, wood, etc. The present project focused on the wood-inhabiting microscopic fungi. More specifically the hyphomycetes (the conidial fungi or the anamorphic fungi) of New York. The basis of this project is nearly 2,500 specimens of microfungi collected from the northern hardwood forests and a few conifer plantations in 24 counties in New York from 1965 to 2004 and then in 2008. The accurate identification, inventory and distribution records of these microfungi are the first and only one of its kind for New York State.
Data from this project are essential for my forthcoming book on the Lignicolous Hyphomycetes of New York. The book will provide better understanding of the morphology, species and generic delimitation, classification, and ecology of these important fungi. It will be an useful taxonomic guide for plant pathologists, wood technologists, aeromycologists, medical and pharmaceutical researchers and industrialists. It will stimulate more students to study microfungi. A preliminary report was published in the Harvard Papers in Botany (Wang 2001).
Wang, Chun J.K., "Wood-Inhabiting Microfungi of New York" (2010). Environmental and Forest Biology Faculty Scholarship. 1.